Tiers Within Tiers

What, has it really been more than a week since I last had anything bad to say about CXP? Time to get back to complaining!

... I'm kidding. Mostly.

This particular subject isn't anything more than minor nitpick territory, but I haven't really seen anyone else talk about it so I did want to write a short post about it.

When I first hit Command tier two, I remember having a conversation with a guildie that went something like this:

Me: Oh finally, a useful piece of tier two gear!
Guildie: Oh nice, it is the artifact or the legendary version?
Me: ... bwuh?

The idea that there were two different versions of each tier item after the first one was initially just bewildering to me. After having had some time to take it in, and taking into consideration how much of the whole CXP mess appears to have been inspired by World of Warcraft's Legion expansion, I figured that this was another such thing that Bioware tried to copy. I haven't played retail WoW in several years, but purely from reading about it on other blogs I've gathered that there's a mechanism that sometimes randomly upgrades your gear drops to a better version of themselves or something. I don't entirely get the point behind it, but I could at least understand the basic idea: making you feel special and lucky when you get the rare piece that's better than usual.

But then 5.1's vendors came in, and all the gear they traded in was the legendary version of each item. So... the rare special upgrade became the new default, which turned the previous "regular" tier into "slightly crappier than usual". I mean, sure, tier pieces are still enough of a pain to get that it's not entirely bad to get a purple one, but it does feel pretty lame that unlike the orange versions, you can't trade them in for upgrades.

5.2 is slated to highlight the issue even more, with the newly introduced tier four also having blue items with set bonuses. I mean, on the one hand: Yay, more chances at a set bonus? But on the other hand: Why not just have one item level each tier and increase its bloody drop rate?

The point of having set bonus gear with different item levels used to be to reward people for doing harder types of content, e.g.: You did hardmode flashpoints! Have a set of set bonus gear. You did operations! Have a set of set bonus gear but with slightly higher stats. That kind of thing.

Having multiple different item levels of the same item drop from a box at random rewards nothing but pure luck. Worse though: With the vendors effectively treating the highest item level as standard, you don't get to feel lucky for scoring something better than the norm every now and then - you only get to feel unlucky for constantly getting drops that aren't even as good as the vendor-bought stuff.


  1. Oh, I wonder who that guildie was... :P

    It could potentially be even more confusing than this; we know that Master Mode bosses will drop Tier IV gear, but only the last Boss drops Legendary stuff whilst the rest all drop Artifact and Prototype gear.

    Whilst the Operations vendors are thus implied to have all three tiers as purchasable (that vendor's going to get rather overwhelmed with fresh stock), there's nothing yet of a similar implication for the PvP vendor.

    It could well be that all three gear tiers end up here as well, which is in a way good because it means that everything can be upgraded, but it's also bad because it's yet more 'fluff' to get in the way of upgrading gear, made worse if the costs aren't in any way significantly reduced. We have no word on this yet either.

    Conversely, if they only include the Legendary Tier IV pieces on the PvP vendor, then whilst you could upgrade 242 Pieces you own it makes gearing via Master Ops relatively worthless since you could just buy gear better than the highest 'common' drops straightaway and, once again, the Artifact/Prototype Drops are unable to be upgraded.

    It's something to keep an eye on, most certainly. For all the information they've given us there's still a fair amount of uncertainty.

    1. So you remember. :P

      I just can't believe how complicated they are making all this. I mean, the changes to drop rates coming in 5.2 are a good thing in terms of us getting better loot, but they add yet more complexity. We've already mocked them for replacing the crystal vendors with this to make things easier, but it's getting pretty ridiculous.

  2. Oh I'm super confused now. Do I need to equip orange or purple gear before a gold of the same slot will drop from a cxp box. My old brain can't cope with all this. I am getting tired of the changes and cannot keep up. Like yourself I feel like pure luck is the main factor at not skill.

    1. Sorry, I realised my terminology was a bit imprecise there. What I meant in the post when I said "orange" was the ones you called gold. Strictly speaking the colour orange is already taken by "custom" gear, but these new "gold" legendaries look kind of orangey to me too and I didn't think of the fact that the colour is already supposed to be taken. :P Your drop rates from the boxes are completely unaffected by what you already have. (Sadly! Thus all the duplicates.)

    2. No the confusion was mine :) Your article was great and thanks for clearing up the drop rates for me.

  3. What's even worse is that I have seen both blue and purple gear (admittedly with the same rating) with the same stat budget on the mods (the case I saw it with they weren't identical mods).
    Someone needs to take away BW:A's shovel, because all they're doing now is digging themselves deeper

    1. Yes, I've seen that too and it's dumb. Isn't purple supposed to be better? Gaaah, more confusion. :P

    2. They panicked; and are now doing the acephalous poultry tango. I don't even think THEY know what their goal is any more, other than grasping at straws and hope.

    3. I don't even know what I'm supposed to be doing in the gearing department any more. I can't imagine what a brand new player who reaches 70 is going to do.

      (Unknown, above, is also me)

  4. One positive with the blues having a set bonus: You won't have to choose between 242 armoring with bonus and 246 armoring without it.

    Before we would have to run 242 armorings with 246 and 248 everything else before we FINALLY got lucky some 300 crates later.


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